Mechanical Bull - Kings of Leon
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 75 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 63 out of 75
  2. Negative: 6 out of 75

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  1. Aug 8, 2014
    the band are now cruising but it still sounds good

    There is universal agreement that KOL are not the band they once were - 99% of bands hit a peak and are unable to maintain it and everything put out after this "peak" tends to suffer in terms of perception and people comparing it to whats gone before. In many ways "Mechanical Bull", KOL's 6th album, follows on logically from "Come
    Around Sundown" and sees the band aim for that stadium rock sound they have been putting out since "Only By the Night". They seem to have consciously tried to inject some of the energy from their first 2 records into this one (especially on "Supersoaker", "Rock City") but the band sound at their best when they go with the sound they are naturally comfortable with these days. "Mechanical Bull" is a solid album and is really well balanced. "Beautiful War" and "Wait For Me" are reflective, "Supersoaker", "Rock City" and "Family Tree" see the band rocking out like their starting out again. "Comeback Story" and "Tonight" see the band going for the lighters in the air moment. "On the Chin" is your mandatory KOL album closer. Fans who have followed the band from the start will enjoy much of this effort, those who jumped off the train when the band got huge will be disappointed that it doesn't sound like "Youth and Young Manhood" or "Aha Shake Heartbreak". KOL may be cruising these days but they still make it worth tagging along for the ride. Expand
  2. Jul 2, 2014
    The Strokes never sounded better! Oh wait... seriously though, in a number of songs they steal plays directly out of The Strokes' playbook - which would be awesome - if they were the Strokes. I was "disappointed" by Come Around Sundown - that is to say I enjoyed it, but it was a continuation of By The Night. I heard no musical growth and nothing new, but because I liked BTN, I liked CAS, too. This album unenjoyably disappoints me. Family Tree is cool, but it is also a very standard blues number, so it isn't exactly 'new.' Really the only song that borders on intriguing is Coming Back Again. The structure and drum patterns are well written / performed. Hopefully their next album lives up to the promise they had in 08. Expand
  3. May 26, 2014
    First off - to be honest to me as a first time supporter of the Kings, when they still dragged the instruments up and down Main Road in Nashville earning some pocket money by hitting the tip jars, was kind of disappointed by them taking the wrong turn from the first 2 albums onto Everybody's Darling Lane. "Come Around Sundown" gave back some belief to all the heartbroken shakers out there, though.

    The dear reader forgives me my extended introduction and to answer the question where I am going with this. I have to confess that I am slowly falling in love with this record. Its not about analysing every single song or shed a tear over Caleb's rehabilitation of a lost soul - "Don't Matter" to me as well. I catch myself listening to certain songs over and over again and start singing them along from the "Temple' of my heart.

    When did this ever happen to me with their recent records I ask myself and what does this tell me about the "Mechanical Bull" - 2 things:

    1. Worst titled album ever (by KoL)
    2. Best (balanced) album they delivered in years

    Whether you agree with me or not. Put yourself to the test - listen to this album and take it as you have never heard about Kings of Leon before, do not compare it to their earlier work, do not judge about their stardom behaviour and blank out the hype. Just listen and find the answer for yourself. I will go on to put my hopes for good rock music into these guys cause they made feel like walking pass that bar in Nashville again. I can hear myself saying "Wait for me" because - It's all better now.
  4. Feb 15, 2014
    8 With quite a few songs on the album, each listen I found myself focusing on another individual element. The songs are so well written that the collective stays together and you can treat each part individually. Kings Of Leon may have not crafted a perfect album here but it's certainly intriguing.
  5. Jan 31, 2014
    Their 10 year anniversary album. "Coming Back Again!" I love this album. It rocks. Caleb's voice has matured very nicely and the guys look so sexy still !!!
  6. Nov 22, 2013
    Ok great there back but there still fading. I recon it to watching a commit flying through the night sky. Started of great just seeing it for the first time was memorizing. Then we watch as it becomes closer and burns so bright. However as it moves past you it becomes more and more dull. This is the career of Kings of Leon. From the first lp you were drawn to them and they got better and bigger keeping you interested, then midway the hit the pinnacle and continued to decline. This was a failed attempt, this album needed to come across as new and edgy instead you can tell they are not able to change and evolve they have clearly gone through their ability to evolve and stay creative. They now are reminding me of ACDC everything is starting to sound the same only instead of accepting that they are ACDC they aren't willing to get creative with in the realm in which they are capable and produce hits that are entertaining. Now it seems Caleb thinks he is the next Jim Morrison with no ability to set the stage for a picture painted in that oddly Picasso style Jim did always knowing that if you looked or listened carefully you would see that the meaning was there it was just perfectly hidden. Caleb throws words together hoping to achieve some mystery meaning. But when you use hillbilly insight to create mystery you just get broken sentences with no real meaning to the rest of the world. However I indeed realize we are very low I rock and roll talent now days so we should still champion them as best we can as if it's not popcorn rap we have very little to choose from which is a terrible situation. Personally I have no use for rap and even less use for the creators of the so called music. So I'll take Kings and ride mouth till the cows come home but I'm waiting desperately for true rock and rollers to emerge. Where is our new version of Guns n Roses? Why can't we have another Pink Floyd style band or anything worthy of such praise. I think the Killers are doing great things in the genre they reside in never a lp that has the same vibe and feel. Lyrics that roll off the tongue as if you were just thinking that but never knew how to articulate it. I'll take the eighties hair bands over the lost generation of rock n roll. We currently reside in. And I'm serious. Please Kings of Leon switch up the tempo and drop the E a half note once in a while. Break up or make the next album worth the twenty nine dollars on the only form worth buying vinyl with a poster and a sticker or a patch or something. What happened to Kiss? They set the stage for making the fan feel like a part of the group and even these bands that have success can't follow the formula. Make us feel like we matter give us something to care about. The world is going to hell in a hand basket can't you give us the small temporary relief ewe all desire? If only for fifteen minutes we will take it we will love it. Just give us something. But make it original on to it's self! Over all album grade B- needed a hit man! I'm being generous based on lack of competition! Really in different times C-. One last thing why is David Gray not the superstar he deserves to be? If. You haven't listened to David's first four lps please do yourself a favor and buy the records or CDs but please don't "download" them! Make these artist work for your money let them give you a full experience buy the record. It's all about back to black! The gatefold the inner lyrics sleeve the art work. Think about how many good jobs come from record sales no more money to these computer geeks! Bring back the vinyl! Thanks and take care. I'm ready for any backlash from my honest assessment! I'll leave you with this. From my book of lyrics. "In this day and age, we got kids killing kids, parents won't take the blame, they want to blame it on the TV set and video games, it's a rage... Yeah it's a rage..." Peace the Diamond. Expand
  7. Oct 23, 2013
    However the band makes up for that with their melodic chords, energetic drumming, groovy bass lines and tireless energy I mean vigorous, dynamic energy) that really keeps the album going throughout its forty two minutes. In addition, stylistically the album is a bit predictable but in all honesty, its too fun to even care.

    Kings of Leon really outdo themselves here, it's strong,
    cohesive, focused and mature but still shines with passionate youth and energy. If there's any album to listen to to get hyped, it's this one. Once I get my hands on this album physically, the volume is going up to 11. That I guarantee you.

    Follow @PRTYNTGRVS for more music reviews
  8. Oct 22, 2013
    This is basically an album that takes all the band's best elements from their experimentation over the years & tossed them together into what I think is their best album so far. It takes the dirty blues-tinged southern rock of the first 2 albums, the unapologetic diversity & scope of Because of the Times, the huge amphitheater-packing hooks of Only by the Night & the introspective maturity of Come Around Sundown, and shoves them all into a stylistic blender where some of their best material to date comes out. For example, fans of the rawness of the first 2 albums will love the driving punk-esque “Don't Matter”, the coolness-exuding southern rocker “Rock City” (where Caleb basically does his best Tom Petty impression) or “Family Tree”'s rhythmic & sleazy hyper-blues groove. Meanwhile fans who prefer the epicness of Only by the Night & to a lesser extent Because of the Times might be more attracted to the back half, where soaring guitar leads & choruses are abundant & always great (particularly on “Tonight” & “Coming Back Again”). And those fond of Come Around Sundown will be happy with the more mature ballad-like tracks like “Beautiful War” & “Wait for Me”, as well as the twangy & uplifting ode to longtime friends “On the Chin”. But there are also some fantastic career hybrid in some of the album's best songs, like “Temple” & “Supersoaker”, as well as the 2 bonus tracks. And each track has that KOL natural catchiness that makes for a lack of throwaways, as well as Caleb's emotive vocals which are better than ever.

    The lyrics, while not quite as notable, are still very well-written. No matter the mood there's always a kind of sincerity & personality that gives the album as a whole a likable characteristic. “Rock City” & “Don't Matter” start out as standard tales of rock & roll debauchery, but later turn into the narratives of a man getting burned out on & sick of that lifestyle, which in a way echoes KOL's personal arch over the course of their career. “Beautiful War” & “Wait for Me” are a pair of sweet love songs with nicely detailed emotional imagery. “Family Tree” & “Comeback Story”, without entirely committing to it, have moments of commenting directly on the recent band-drama, especially with the former's opening lines. Some songs have more substance than others, but at worst the lyrics just sound good against the musical backdrop.

    If I had to nitpick for a flaw in this album, it's that a lot of the songs have the same verse structure of “line 1/line 2/line 3 (maybe twice)/line 4/line 5/line 3 (maybe twice)”, and it's more necessary on some songs than others, where it can detract a little from the lyrical content. But that just barely lessens the enjoyment of an otherwise fantastic album. If you're a KOL fan that's been disappointed by everything they've put out after 2007, I imagine there'll be a sense of redemption to be found in Mechanical Bull, even if it might not be your favorite of theirs to date because of the latter-day influences. And for anyone just looking for a great, catchy, melodic & genuine rock album, I can't recommend this enough.

    Top 5 tracks: Temple, Don't Matter, Supersoaker, Last Mile Home (bonus track), Comeback Story
    Score: 91/100
  9. Oct 20, 2013
    It’s amazing how fickle the American Rock & Roll fan base (or mob) can be. One minute they love you, the next they loathe you- if you even get big enough to make it to the hatred. But for the Kings of Leon they not only had the backlash from their hardcore fans churning against them due to their new-found popularity but there was also internal combustion of nearly catastrophic proportions.
    Singer/guitarist Caleb Followill was caught on the widening fault line between himself and the rest of the band that really began during the making of their fifth record Come Around Sundown which he revealed, “I pretty much checked out for that record.” Lead guitarist Matthew Followill added, “Making Come Around Sundown was just not fun. We were in a tiny studio in New York, there was too much alcohol around all day.” Everything came to a head when they almost completely imploded at a show in Dallas in 2011 when Caleb was unable to finish the show ending it prematurely and subsequently leading to the band having to cancel the last 26 dates of that tour. The other three members were irate over the situation causing a volatile rift with both parties lashing out at each other. Everyone needed to take a break and limp back to their caves to lick their wounds, take time to heal. The long road back to glory took two years, leading to Mechanical Bull.
    Don’t let the less than stellar album title and campy neon artwork throw you for a loop- Mechanical Bull is the real deal. Lead single “Supersoaker” opens with jangling guitars ushering in a palpitating backbeat and buoyant keys. It's a clarion call of sorts that the Kings of Leon have reconnected to an extent with their rough-and-tumble roots and it’s as carefree as they’ve sounded in years. “Rock City” saunters into the city limits out of the desert after a drug-abetted excursion, bourbon-sipping with southern-fried licks as Caleb confidently and androgynously states, “I can shake it like a woman,” suggesting more late night gender-bending mischief the likes of “Trani.” “Don’t Matter” is the filthiest track they’ve perhaps ever released, certainly it has the sand to stand with anything from Youth & Young Manhood or Aha Shake Heartbreak. Clocking in at only 2:50 it’s a ferocious stampede with Nathan Followill’s most thunderous, pummeling drums yet accompanied by gnashing, serrated guitars. A definite Queens Of The Stone Age influence prevails as pistons fire and the moonshine is guzzled on a charge across the sweltering landscape. Caleb proclaims with throbbing angst, “I can or I can fight, it don’t matter to me.” “Beautiful War” is the first foray into the grandeur of ballads the likes of which permeated Only By The Night and Come Around Sundown. Gorgeous and shimmering, reminiscent of Joshua Tree/Rattle & Hum era U2, a majestic crescendo builds into a magnificent meteor shower, a pining for connection on a vast frontier. They prove that they can craft a stop-the-clocks ballad as well as anybody and this might be their finest yet. “Temple” is an impassioned high tension wire of devotion while “Wait For Me” nocturnally simmers and glistens in the twilight. “Family Tree” settles down deep in a ‘70s groove, the funkiest conjured number here, as if they’ve been combing through a pile of old Stax Records LPs. “Comeback Story” is another phenomenal ballad with gentle rolling guitars similar to “Knocked Up” setting the pace. Seemingly autobiographical of the band, as if the title wasn’t enough, Caleb laments, “The bright of lights they are burning me out.” It’s certainly a testament to the exhaustion from the main spotlight and big stages before their hiatus as a genuflecting outro surges with strings for the mighty swell, nothing seems to be done on a small scale. “Tonight” blazes the night skyline with echoing staccato guitars and Caleb howling, “Tonight somebody’s lover is gonna pay for his sin.” “Coming Back Again” has the revving getaway engine of "California Waiting" with an eruption once more of caterwauling guitars in the chorus. The closer “On The Chin” is the most country-tinged song in the band’s canon with a heartbreaking Nashville twang as waves of pedal steel wash over the arena-ready tear-jerker. Caleb has said he has a great admiration for old-guard country artists such as Townes Van Zandt and this is no doubt his shot at their forlorn tales, channeling those outlaw ghosts with lines like, “Parked my bag of bones back of the station/ He said make yourself at home so I started day drinking.” Caleb shows he has the ability to write superb dusty storytelling songs and with its slow mirror ball spin this marks their fourth straight record closing with a “last call” of stunning beauty.
    Kings of Leon make a statement with Mechanical Bull that they were out to make a record on their own time and their own terms, devoid of attempting to make mega hits or please anyone but themselves. Not for the casual fans who probably only listen to “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody” nor for the apparent diehards who have been crying “Sell outs” since Only By The Night. And really, that’s the approach they should take when making records going forward. They’re still an immensely talented band and the muse will find them no matter how they’re perceived to the masses. Mechanical Bull is the most evenly balanced record they’ve released blending rockers with their matured ballads. Fans of the earlier material have a real tough time coping with the fact that the Kings of Leon were destined to be headliners around the world, they can’t fit in their back pockets and they aren’t just their band anymore. Whatever discord there was in the band the past couple of years has seemingly now floated under the bridge and they can now concentrate on getting back to the throne to reign as rock royalty for decades to come.
  10. Oct 13, 2013
    Such a solid album from top to bottom. The boys have grown up even more to create a sonically brilliant album, incorporating the same chill SoCal southern vibes from Come Around Sundown, though with the raw demeanor of the earlier 3 albums. You can tell that the Followills actually put their heart and soul into this. Caleb, though his age is starting to show, belts songs here with very controlled, but believable
    authority. Matthew has returned to his more creative ways through many of the solos and catchy licks in the album. Nathan and Jared, though more incognito in this album, still play with the same precision and their signature styles that is synonymous with this band.

    Favourites: Supersoaker, Don't Matter, Temple, Wait For Me, Family Tree
    Worth the 3 year wait, and easily a Rock Album of the Year contender!
  11. Oct 10, 2013
    It's clearly that something happened during this 3 year hiatus for the Kings to lose their fire because they simply don't have it any more. The album sounds very generic and lacks the originality that their previous work has. It's just so bland and boring, It's tough to sit through. Mind you the only song I actually liked was Beautiful War. I am not saying it's a terrible album but it certainly does not live up to expectations and is very disappointing. Expand
  12. Oct 5, 2013
    I thought this album was good, but that's all it was. It was not great. The songs themselves were good but I didn't find they were very memorable, especially considering many of their other very memorable songs. After listening to the whole album, I thought it was decent but I couldn't recall what any of the songs even sounded like except for Super Soaker.
  13. BKM
    Oct 2, 2013
    I still cling to the hope that Kings of Leon will eventually get back to the more rollicking, southern fried garage rock vibe of their first two albums, but that seems unlikely at this point in their career. Mechanical Bull is an improvement over Come Around Sundown which was bland and radio friendly. This effort has a looser, more relaxed feel as if the band isn't trying so hard to prove that they're rock stars. It's a welcome approach. Expand
  14. Oct 1, 2013
    Nice album. After two really really bad albums, fulfilled with cheesy power-ballads made for teenage little girls, they finally released something a lil bit more exciting and more guitar-driven than their previous two awful albums. Temple is my favourite song, it reminds me of California Waiting on Youth & Young Manhood. Their first single is also catchy, and has that sound from Aha Shake. Coming Back Again is another highlight of the album, and don't forget Don't Matter, my second favourite, which has that raw and rocker sound like that single from their 3rd album (Charmer) although a little bit softer than that. I recommend the 2 bonus tracks, they're nice. I didn't like any ballads on the album, that's why I'm givin' it a 7 (I really liked 7 tracks on the album). Anyway, their first two albums are still my favourite and the best from their catalogue. Expand
  15. Sep 30, 2013
    To be honest, our expectations were really high. Their two latest albums Only By The Night and Come Around Sundown were great. When first single Supersoaker was released, we weren’t convinced Mechanical Bull was going to match them. But again, Kings Of Leon managed to produce some excellent songs, such as Wait For Me, Tonight and Family Tree.

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  16. Sep 26, 2013
    If you love this album, you have ridiculously low expectations of what music should be. You likely compare Kings of Leon to Lady Gaga or Rhianna and think that this latest insipid offering from the Nashville quartet is somehow more credible because they wear chequered shirts and play guitars. The album is an insult to my intelligence from beginning to end, and if that wasn't enough they've even called it Mechanical Bull (translation; going through the motions garbage). "Don't Matter" could easily be a b-side that Queens of The Stone Age record when they reach their 60s."Family Tree" is a poor rehash of The Zutons "You Will You Won't", missing the sense of communion it is so blindly attempting to embrace. "Temple" contains the album's only fleeting moment of true enjoyment in an otherwise heavy, tired and extremely pointless album by a band who just don't care any more. Collapse
  17. Sep 26, 2013
    Kings of Leon has done it again. Mechanical Bull is easily one of their finest albums. Standout tracks are Wait For Me, Temple, Family Tree, Comeback Story, Coming Back Again and Work On Me. There is an energy here that wasn't present in the somewhat mellow "Come Around Sundown". The boys have never sounded better or looked better live as they do in 2013. They don't have a single bad album. This is a special band, one we will look back at as one of the, if not the best rock groups of our generation. Expand
  18. Sep 26, 2013
    I'm not saying this album is awful, but I'm not excited about it either. It simply sounds like the Kings are getting old and settling down. This is not the restrained mastery they showed on Come Around Sundown. They really try to rock out here. I'm just not convinced anymore.
  19. Sep 25, 2013
    A great Kings of Leon album A musical bridge between the firsts albums and the 2 latest. But don't try to analyse the musical quality, just enjoy it and Caleb's voice. Simply brilliant !
    Hard to choose the best songs as different styles but definitively not a bad one within the 13 tracks of the Deluxe album.
    Don't matter, Coming back again, Temple are my favorite songs, but just because
    we have to pick up some, as they're all good and this album deserves worldwide success !
    KOL are back
  20. Sep 25, 2013
    Great album, much better than Come Around Sundown. Yes they are a different kind of Kings Of Leon from the one that made Aha Shake Heartbreak best album for me) but the album has the typical south-rock-alternative sound that make Kings unique. Best track Coming Back Again.
  21. Sep 25, 2013
    Simply put A very good album, this album has brought them back to their best after Come Around Sundown was a bit of a let down. The best 2 songs I think are Comeback Story and Tonight, although it is hard to pick as there are so many good songs on this album. Well done Kings Of Leon.
  22. Sep 24, 2013

    'While 'Mechanical Bull' is as solid and slick as the last two records, it is also just as predictable. Their latest album is the third album that has reinforced one of my long held quiet beliefs- that growing up is good, but youth and young manhood is great.'

    Read why I gave it a 7 at length on my review.
  23. Sep 24, 2013
    I think it's an amazing album and it deserve better critics than that..........................................................................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  24. Sep 24, 2013
    Eagerly anticipated, easily disappointing. I think they were going for an effortless, grand, anthemic sound here but in the end achieved something that sounds bored, lazy and bland. There is little aggression, little energy and seemingly little inspiration.'Wait For Me', 'Supersoaker', 'Temple' and 'Comeback Story' are all decent tracks, but even combined they cannot add enough punch to elevate this album from it's status as a damp squib. They are not Bruce Springsteen and should stop trying to be. We have heard what they are capable of. This sounds like less than 50% of that. Expand
  25. Sep 24, 2013
    A fantastic return to form for Kings of Leon. After the slightly underwhelming "Come around Sundown" Fans were looking for that spark of excitement that used to plague the bands music. Mechanical bull is the hybrid of what made the select few gems on come around sundown great and the intense lyrics that made Youth and young manhood so exciting. The stand out songs for me were "Coming back again" and "Work on Me" (only in the deluxe edition) Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Jan 27, 2014
    Occasionally frustrating and sometimes even a little soapy, Mechanical Bull has its flaws, but it also brims with personality and passion. [Oct 2013, p.104]
  2. Oct 18, 2013
    All in all, the best return to original form a stadium band can risk these days. [No. 103, p.57]
  3. Oct 4, 2013
    Mechanical Bull kicks up a tightly controlled disc that still leaves enough roots unpolished.